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Introduction

The United Arab Emirates has recently enacted Cabinet Resolution No. (43) of 2024, establishing procedures for dealing with non-resident foreigners caught in possession of narcotic or psychotropic substances at the country’s entry points. This resolution outlines the applicable laws, penalties, and procedures for such incidents, reinforcing the UAE’s stringent stance on drug control.

Cabinet Resolution

The resolution references several key laws:

Federal Law No. (1) of 1972 on the competencies of ministries and powers of ministers, as amended.

Federal Decree-Law No. (29) of 2021 on the entry and residence of foreigners.

Federal Decree-Law No. (30) of 2021 on combating narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Federal Decree-Law No. (38) of 2022 issuing the Penal Procedure Law, as amended.

Scope of Application

Article 1 specifies the resolution’s application criteria:

Non-Resident Foreigners: This resolution applies to non-resident foreigners caught with narcotic or psychotropic substances listed in the accompanying schedule while entering the UAE through any land, sea, or air entry points. The substances must be for personal use, not exceeding the specified quantities, and not for medical purposes.

Exceeding Quantities: If the quantities exceed those specified or are intended for others, the legal procedures and penalties outlined in Federal Decree-Law No. (30) of 2021 will apply.

Multiple Substances: When multiple substances are involved, each not exceeding the specified individual quantities, the total quantity must not exceed 100 grams for all substances combined.

Procedures for Handling Cases

Article 2 outlines the procedures law enforcement must follow:

Documentation: A detailed report must be filed, specifying the type and quantity of the substance.

Criminal Record: The individual’s details must be recorded in the unified criminal system.

Confiscation: Confiscated substances must be handed over to the relevant authority for destruction as per the law.

Legal Referral: The individual, along with the report and substances, must be referred to the public prosecution for further legal action.

Penalties

Article 3 details the penalties for non-resident foreigners found with substances:

First Offense: A fine ranging from AED 5,000 to AED 20,000. The individual will not be allowed entry into the UAE until the fine is paid.

Second Offense: A fine ranging from AED 10,000 to AED 30,000, deportation, and a three-year entry ban. Entry is only permitted after the fine is paid and the ban period is served.

Third Offense: A fine ranging from AED 50,000 to AED 100,000, deportation, and a permanent entry ban.

Specific Substances: For substances listed in section 4 of the schedule, a fine ranging from AED 50,000 to AED 100,000, deportation, and a permanent entry ban apply immediately.

Non-Payment of Fines: Individuals who do not pay their fines will be permanently banned from entering the UAE until the fine is settled.

Enforcement and Appeals

Article 4 mandates the inclusion of individuals under entry bans in the unified criminal system and administrative lists managed by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, Customs, and Ports Security.

Article 5 provides for an appeal process where individuals can request exemption from the entry ban by proving payment of fines, following established legal procedures.

Implementation and Publication

Article 6 authorizes the public prosecutors to issue necessary decisions and instructions for implementing this resolution.

Article 7 states that this resolution will be published in the official gazette and will come into effect 30 days after its publication.

Conclusion

The enactment of Cabinet Resolution No. (43) of 2024 underscores the UAE’s commitment to stringent drug control measures. It provides clear guidelines and strict penalties for non-resident foreigners found in possession of narcotic or psychotropic substances, aiming to uphold the country’s laws and public safety standards.

By delineating the scope, procedures, penalties, and enforcement mechanisms, this resolution enhances the legal framework to combat drug-related offenses at the UAE’s borders effectively.

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